Beginnings, ends and Christmas …


I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last blog – where does the time go! Seriously – it’s just gone so fast. Kind of a blink and you miss it period of time. It actually scares me a little how fast it actually goes.

By the complete lack of updates, you’ll all be aware that I’ve been really busy – so much to cover and I don’t want to drone on so I’ll just start from the beginning, which to be fair is where all good stories start. So last blog was in October, at which point I mentioned I’d sent my first novel off to a publisher – the amazing, fantastic, still-bouncing-around-the-room-in-joy news is that my novel has been accepted for publication from the lovely Darren Laws of Caffeine Nights publishing – and my first novel will be published in 2016. I am, understandably, still amazed and chuffed with this! I’m very much looking forward to working with Darren and the team, and can’t wait until the first copy of my novel drops onto my front door mat.

As a writer, it’s a little surreal if I’m honest. I spend my life working my day job, and burying myself in my imagination to bring to life the stories that are lurking there. It’s been my dream to be published for a long time now, and throughout my writing to date, I’ve been through what every writer goes through – self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, nervousness, despair – honestly unless you write it’s so hard to comprehend the feeling of desolation as yet another rejection pops into your inbox. It gets so you expect the rejection, and even if you believe your work is good (and I’ve never met a writer yet who does think their work is actually good enough for publication – it’s a hope we all have, but it’s never a foregone conclusion) – when you get that acceptance, it’s like everything you do is made worthwhile.

When I first met Darren at Harrogate Crime Festival this year (2014), I was really nervous about pitching. I’d always sent my novel off to agents with a cover letter and the text requirements, but had never actually spoken to someone who was so embroiled in the real world of publishing. It was scary let me tell you! I remember I’d walked to the venue hotel from my hotel which was a good 10 minutes walk away, and at some point in that 10 minutes I’d managed to get a mucky mark on my newly adorned white top. So when Ian Ayris and Eileen Wharton, both fellow authors, suggested (or rather pushed) that I talk to Darren, I was understandably reluctant. I mean, he would think I was a right nut job, going to him outside of a crowded bar with my dirty white top, stuttering and trying to formulate words. If you knew me, you’d never think I would get that nervous, but I was. Anyway, cutting a long story short, and with a little help from my friends, I spoke to Darren, several times over the weekend to be fair, and he asked me to send in my first three chapters. Then he asked to see the whole novel, and at this point I was still poised for the polite ‘thanks but no thanks’. When the email came offering me a publishing contract, I had to read it several times to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. And I’ve read it several times since, as well as sending my freshly signed contract back! Suffice to say, it feels amazing to know I’ll be a published author in 2016! Such an amazing end to 2014 and beginning to 2015 which is where all the planning and hard work really begins!

I went on holiday in November with my ever patient and loving hubby, Peter, who is absolutely thrilled about it all of course. And going on holiday afforded me some much needed time to write – working full time sometimes makes writing hard – but sitting in the shade, with an endless supply of cappucino was definitely a plus! I can’t believe book 4, provisionally titled Watch You Burn, is 20,000 words in already! This one is arson based, and the characters are fantastic – Edina Blaze is feisty, damn good at her job, family orientated and independent all at once – am loving how her character is coming to life! And the arson scenes, though gruelling to write, will be at least be accurate – much research, and also excellent input and assistance from the lovely Gary Currie of Teesside University, as well as input from the endless cops I speak to at work. I’m looking forward to continuing and seeing where this one goes.

So did you realise it’s December and it’s Christmas next week? I almost missed that – haha. I am of course joking! Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the sparkly decorations and lights, love the christmas songs, love the feeling of good cheer, and absolutely adore being able to spoil the people that mean so much to me. I do let people know how much they mean all year, how much I’m grateful for them being there and for their support, both with my writing and with everything else too, but Christmas, for me, is all about seeing people smile. I know some people hate christmas, and some people have horrible christmasses, and I appreciate how hard it can be at this time of year. I give to charity, and try and do my bit for strangers, but I can never forget how magical the whole season always was for me. I was very lucky as a child – my mum brought me and my brother up on her own on a very limited income, but we always had amazing christmasses. There was always turkey, tinsel and presents, and the house was always filled with love. One of the things I miss the most since my Grandad died, is my christmas sock. He’d take a woolly sock (not worn) and fill it with fruit, a few sweets and a 50p piece wrapped up tight in an envelope. Even as an adult, it was the first thing I went for as soon as he walked in the house. It was a tradition. One I know my mum will do for our kids, if and when we ever have them.

Anyway, enough about my family christmasses – this year it’s all about you guys. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, and that 2015 helps make all your dreams come true – you are the reason I write this blog, the reason I open myself up online, one of the reasons I write. Every one of you is so supportive, and interactive – my facebook timeline is filled with friends I never would have known if not for the wonder of social media, and many that I would perhaps have lost touch with. I see your happiness and sadness every day – and I feel so proud when I think about how happy you all make me. I truly hope that happiness abounds and you all have the best time.

Thank you – for another fantastic year, for being who you are, and for all the opportunities I know will present in 2015. Take care, have a great christmas, and as always, keep smiling 😀